Carty says no layoffs at UTS St. Maarten

PHILIPSBURG–United Telecommunications Services (UTS) Eastern Caribbean is currently not focusing on layoffs, official Glen Carty said on Wednesday.

He was responding to news that the board of Curaçao-based UTS labour union Sitkom will be in the country next week to explain the intended reorganisation at the government-owned company in which country St. Maarten also has a minority stake.

Sitkom vice-president Cedrik Isei told the Amigoe newspaper that members among the 57 local UTS workers on the Dutch side have questions regarding the process that includes reducing the total personnel from 480 to 200.

In Curaçao, a committee of three nominated by the majority shareholder, management and the union has been evaluating the austerity plans and their implementation. Management requested clarity by May 15, but Isei said they want to make sure everything is properly studied for the best possible outcome.

Once the downsizing in Curaçao is underway it will be St. Maarten’s turn, although seeing the limited number of employees here he does not expect many changes.
“Presently UTS Eastern Caribbean is not focusing on any layoffs. The team is now focusing on rebuilding and increasing its market share,” Carty told The Daily Herald in an invited comment. “Not only has Hurricane Irma been a blow to our economy, but technology such as communicating via, for example, WhatsApp has changed the playing field.

“Our revenues have plummeted over the years because of this and our expenses have continued to increase. During 2018 we will do our utmost to balance this and continue to work hard to increase revenues and manage our expenses. The future of the economy of our country is critical to achieve this, and this is something we do not have control over.”
Carty said UTS meets with its staffers every three or so weeks and keeps them abreast of issues such as the market. He said UTS had no customers following Hurricane Irma and the company managed to rebuild its customer base. It put a temporary network in place and it is now rebuilding its network better and stronger to resist powerful hurricanes.

Telecommunications companies around the world are suffering with voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) technology such as WhatsApp, where persons communicate for free. Therefore, revenues plummet, but cost is increasing. UTS is combating this worldwide phenomenon by diversifying in other services such as the “UTS Secure” vehicle monitoring system.

“So, while we are not focusing on sending home people, we are telling employees that we all have to work hard in the economy. We now have to provide good service to customers so that we don’t end up in the position where we have to lay off,” Carty said.

He underscored the importance of proper management of the country’s economy, because if the economy does not bounce back, UTS, like other companies in the country, will suffer.

Source: The Daily Herald